Apple's MacBook Pro laptops have retained essentially the same form factor since before the Intel processor transition, using the aluminium PowerBook G4 as a template. Now five years on, Apple has updated the line with a wholly new approach to laptop construction.

As with the MacBook reviewed last month, the MacBook Pro takes the unibody idea, with the main chassis of the machine precision-carved out of a solid extrusion of aluminium.

Aside from the improvements in rigidity, heat dissipation and overall durability, it embues the new machines with a laptop build quality that's untouched anywhere else in the world. You might see this quality of engineering on a high-end professional camera - but never before on a consumer notebook computer.

And while Apple would have you believe that this is a professional notebook, we can't see many design professionals or photographers being impressed with the high-gloss screen that Apple now fits as standard on its 13in and 15in laptops. In low-light conditions, it may be easier to be impressed by the saturated colours. But take the MacBook Pro into a well-lit room, and you'll have trouble seeing beyond your own reflection or that of windows and room lights.

The spec is almost identical to the MacBook 2.4GHz we tested, but aside from preserving the latter's lost FireWire port (although previous model actually had two), it adds a second nVidia graphics card for more demanding 3D visuals such as gaming.

To switch between cards, you're required to log out first, although a speedier solution is rumoured for the next OS update. Less certain is whether you'll then be able to combine the two GPUs together to further augment performance, as some Windows laptops have promised when using Intel's latest Centrino 2 chips.

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